The NFL takes a break from the byes in Week 10 but be aware that New Orleans, Houston, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh will be resting in Week 11. Arian Foster, Rashard Mendenhall, Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas owners might be forced to the waiver wire next week, so plan accordingly.
There are many bumps and bruises to monitor heading into Week 10.
Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) missed Weds. practice and will be questionable for the 4pm kickoff in San Fran (via ESPN). Peyton Hillis (hamstring) and Montario Hardesty will be out again in Week 10—Chris O is not fantasy relevant, and is a low end flex play despite the favorable matchup with St Louis.
Felix Jones (ankle) will be listed as questionable heading into this Sunday (via SB Nation), and his role is up in the air with the emergence of rookie Demarco Murray.
This week we profile a few RBs that could provide adequate numbers if you are in need of an injury replacement or bye week fill in.
Roy Helu: (@MIA, DAL, @SEA, NYJ)
(The games in parenthesis are the next four games for the team.)
We profiled Helu last week and highly doubt he’s available, except in the deepest of leagues after his Week 9 breakout performance against San Fran (No. 1 run defense). Helu rushed 10 times for 41 yards and added 14 catches for 105 yards in Sunday’s loss (breaking Art Monk’s team record for single game receptions).
The Week 9 performance came out of nowhere after Helu didn’t see a carry in Week 8. Although, he was still on the field more than the less-than-effective Ryan Torain (averaging 1.6 YPC since his one productive performance Week 4 in St Louis).
Rookie Roy Helu (Nebraska) was selected in the fourth round (105 overall) and began to pay dividends in Week 2—he totaled 10 carries for 74 yards and added three catches for 38 yards. There’s no telling what Mike Shanahan's eight-ball will tell him to do this week, but Helu seems to be more trusted in pass protection than Ryan Torain. This could very well have the rookie leading the backfield in snaps most weeks.
Despite the addition of Tashard Choice, Helu looks to be the starting RB for Washington (but we all know that can change depending on what side of the bed Shanahan wakes up on this Sunday). Helu has 26 catches on the season and should be a solid Flex play, especially in PPR leagues, despite the difficult matchups on the horizon.
Donald Brown: (JAX, BYE, CAR, @NE)
What can Brown do for you? The answer has been sit on your fantasy bench over the past two seasons.
The oft injured (missed eight games in 2009/2010), less than productive (30 YPG average) 2009 first-round pick could be given yet another chance to redeem his fantasy relevance, depending on the severity of Addai’s hamstring strain. Brown’s one notable performance of his brief career was in Week 15 of last season, when he finished with 14 carries for 129 yards against a weak Jags run defense.
Delone Carter fumbled in the first quarter of the Week 9 blowout loss to Atlanta, and spent the majority of the game on the sidelines. Brown led the Colts anemic offense with 16 carries for 70 yards and is averaging 12 carries for 50 yards over the past three weeks. Joseph Addai was active last week and could get into the mix in Week 10, limiting the upside of any member of the Colts backfield.
If Addai is ruled out for Week 10—Brown is a Flex play at best against a solid Jacksonville run defense that ranks 11th (110 YPG).
Chris Ivory: (NYG, ARZ, @BAL, STL)
The second year RB from Tiffin college missed the first six games (PUP List) of the 2011 season with a foot injury. Over 12 games last season, the 6', 222-pounder averaged 60 YPC with five TDs.
Ivory was named the starter for Week 9, but he and Pierre Thomas each played 21 snaps. Ivory had 15 carries for 67 yards but Pierre ended up with the lone rushing TD for the Saints. With rookie Mark Ingram nearing a return from a bruised heel, it's difficult to see Ivory gaining starter status for fantasy purposes. But, he’s worth considering if Ingram’s injury worsens.
Kendall Hunter: (NYG, ARZ, @BAL, STL)
We profiled Hunter last week and now that Frank Gore is dealing with a sprained ankle (although vows to play in Week 10), the rookie from Oklahoma State is a must-own.
In Week 4 against a forgiving Eagles defense, Hunter topped 100 total yards and flashed impressive elusiveness. Through seven games (in a limited role), he has 48 carries for 217 yards (impressive 4.5 YPC).
Frank Gore has missed 10 games over the last four seasons, making Hunter a must-own handcuff. He is a dual threat, much like Gore, and could be a solid start if and when Gore misses a game or two.
Alfonso Smith and La’Rod Stephens-Howling: (@PHI, @SF, @STL, DAL)
If the Week 9 loss to St Louis 31st-ranked run defense proved one thing, it's that Beanie Wells is far from healthy.
Wells finished with 10 carries for 20 yards, and his knee injury appears to be hindering his production. Arizona sits at 2-6 and is pretty much playing for a higher draft pick in the second half of the season—they would be smart to rest Wells until he proves he’s 100 percent healthy. If Wells is sidelined, Arizona is likely to turn to a committee approach with rookie Alfonso Smith and La’Rod Stephens-Howling (how much punctuation does one man need).
Veteran Chester Taylor could also see a few touches. Smith is an undrafted rookie from Kentucky that has 26 carries for 90 yards (3.6YPC) on the season—most of which came in Week 3 with Wells sidelined against Seattle (Smith had 17 carries for 54 yards and three catches for 21 yards).
Stephens-Howling is a kick returner that will fill in on passing downs (has only five carries for 16 yards on the season and his one fantasy relevant play to date involved a 73 yard TD reception against Pittsburgh in Week 7).
He’s a lower end Flex play in PPR leagues. Bottom line is no member of the Cardinal backfield holds much fantasy potential as a fill-in if Beanie’s troublesome knee forces him back to the sidelines.
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